Information For Parents
Letter to the ParentsDear Parent:
We would like to introduce you to The Age of Sail, an experiential education program offered through Maritime Programs in San Francisco, of which your child is scheduled to attend. Not only is our curriculum exciting, but so are our teaching methods and location. The Age of Sail takes place aboard the C.A. Thayer and the Balclutha at Hyde Street Pier.
Maritime Programs, a division of The Maritime Park Association, is a private non-profit organization which operates through the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Our goal is to provide thoughtful, compelling and accurate maritime education programs for the greater San Francisco Bay Area community and Northern California, through an experience that will mirror, as closely as possible, the life of a 1906 sailor.
We also strive to increase the awareness of San Francisco and California history, the maritime industry and to introduce to the participants the similarities and differences between their daily lives and those of the historic sailors. Through this learning we hope to help the children better understand the continuum of history so that they will see themselves as a part of history, not as an observer.
Our program moves from the traditional classroom setting to an overnight voyage on a real tall ship. Throughout the entire experience, emphasis is placed on building self esteem, a sense of responsibility, respect and cooperative learning skills. These are skills not just useful in the classroom, but will be useful for their entire lives.
During the 19-hour imaginary voyage, the ship does not leave the dock. The year is 1906. There has been a devastating earthquake and fire and San Francisco lays in smoldering ruins. Our vessels, the C. A. Thayer and the Balclutha, are lumber carriers. Our Captain wants to sail out through the Golden Gate and up to Portland, Or., to pick up lumber to help rebuild the city. Unfortunately, our regular crew has gone ashore to fight fires and help in the rescue operations and our Captain needs a crew. The school children, or lads, arrive at Hyde Street Pier to sign aboard as the replacement crew.
Our Captain will not sail with an inexperienced crew. Therefore the lads must prove to the Captain, through the completion of tasks, that they are capable of sailing the C. A. Thayer or the Balclutha. These tasks include, but are not limited to: reeving a block and tackle, riding a Bosuns chair, rowing a longboat, cooking on a wood burning stove, standing night watch and raising sails.
Once the lads board the vessel, its hands on education for the children and hands off education for the adults. This means that the lads must problem solve as individuals and in small groups and use cooperative learning techniques to accomplish their tasks. We find that this self-reliance increases the rewards of completing a challenging job.
How to Prepare Your ChildDue to our location, length of program and time period there are some items that your child must bring on the field trip.
What your child needs to bring:Medium weight sleeping bag (If you do not own one, check with the teacher to see if one can be borrowed from another class).
Second change of clothing, including a shirt, pants (not shorts), socks, shoes. Dressing in layers is helpful because your child can add or subtract layers depending on the conditions. A watch cap and gloves are suggested for warmth during night watch.
Foul weather gear (rain coat or parka and trousers if available). Rain is not the norm, but wind and fog are. Foul weather gear can cut the wind and damp cold better than cotton or wool (large garbage bags can work in a pinch). No child will be excused from participation due to the lack of rain gear.
Eating utensils, including a metal plate, pie tin, or bowl, cup, fork
and spoon. NO plastic is allowed (A metal measuring cup or a soup can can
act as a cup). Please label the galley gear with your child's name!
What is not allowed :Candy, gum or personal food, other than the bag lunch brought for that day.
Cell phones, digital watches, toys, electronic games and pets or cassette players.
What the Maritime Programs and the teacher will need from you:The school will send their specific permission form and the Maritime Programs medical form to the home for this trip.
If your child has special medical needs, we will need to have specific directions concerning the condition in writing.
If your child has any dietary constraints, such as diabetes, food allergies, or requires a vegetarian diet, please inform the teacher of this prior to the trip. In most cases we can modify our menu to meet most needs. If not, such as with kosher meals, we will ask you to supply an appropriate meal. If you have any specific questions regarding our galley stores, please call prior to the day of the program. If a child with your crew has extreme allergies you may be asked to carry their Epi-Pen since you will be physically with them.
Because we do travel back to 1906, we require that all participants stay for the duration of the program. If your child needs to leave prior to the close of the program at 9:00 a.m., please reconsider participation in this field trip.We also ask that no family members or friends board the vessel while the program is under way.
If you have any questions or concerns, you may call us directly at (415)
292-6664 or contact us by email.
ScenarioThe Age of Sail takes place aboard the C.A. Thayer and the Balclutha at Hyde Street Pier, a division of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.
The year is 1906; there has been a devastating earthquake and fire and San Francisco lies in smoldering ruins. Our vessels, the C. A. Thayer and the Balclutha, are lumber carriers. Our Captain wants to sail out through the Golden Gate and up to Portland, Or., to pick up lumber and help rebuild the city. Unfortunately, our regular crew has gone ashore to fight fires and help in the rescue operations and so the Captain needs a crew. The school children, or lads, arrive at Hyde Street Pier to sign aboard as the replacement crew.
Our Captain will not sail with an inexperienced crew. Therefore, the lads must prove to the Captain, through the completion of tasks, that they are capable of sailing the C. A. Thayer or the Balclutha. These tasks include, but are not limited to: reeving a block and tackle, riding a Bosuns chair, rowing a longboat, cooking on a wood-burning stove, setting hawsers, standing night watch and raising sail.
The teacher's guide contains most, but not all of the information that the students will need to complete our program. The additional information will be taught on board. The number of tasks completed and the possibility of each crew either riding the bosun's chair of rowing the longboat is directly contingent on the quality and quantity of preparation the entire crew receives prior to the start of the program and their ability to apply skills learned in the class to the new situations on board.
MethodsOnce the lads board the vessel, its hands on education for the lads, and hands off education for the adults. This means that the lads must problem-solve, as individuals and in small groups using cooperative learning techniques to accomplish their tasks. We find that self-reliance increases the rewards of completing a challenging job.
The vessel is staffed with a crew of between four and six who are there to prompt the lads through questions and subtle examples if they reach an impasse. Each of the cast of characters has a specific personality, based both on history and on the needs of the lads. The Captain is quiet and stern, the Doctor, understanding and compassionate. The First Mate is stern, but fair. The Second and Third Mates are in the same boat as the lads; they are new to the vessel and often make mistakes, but find a way to work through them. The Bosun, an experienced sailor, circulates around the vessel, stepping in where needed.
TrainingThe children do need to understand the basic concepts and possess the rudimentary skills needed to complete a task. Experience has taught us that a well prepared, knowledgeable crew is a safer, happier and more successful crew. Because of this, we require that each crew receive classroom training before they board the vessels on Hyde Street Pier.
The responsibility of training each crew in their specific tasks falls upon the Safety Officer/Tall Sailors (an adult). We strongly recommend that they spend a minimum of 3 hours training their crews. Not only will this help the crew prepare for the tasks ahead, but it will help your Tall Sailors prepare for their role as a Safety Officer/Tall Sailor. If they are familiar with the tasks, they will be better able to spot potentially dangerous situations and safety problems before they arise.
We also provide in-school training for a minimal fee upon request. Two staff members will visit your school and help prepare the teachers, parents and crews for their voyage.
Role of the ParticipantsOnce on board, everyone has a role to play. The officers are on board to guide the lads through their tasks, each through a specific characterization. It is helpful to begin role play in the classroom.
The Tall Sailors have one of the most difficult roles on board: they are there for safety only. This is challenging because parents are used to stepping in to help and guide their children in unfamiliar or difficult situations. To stand back and watch the children struggle through a problem is difficult, but necessary and we ask that for the entire program you not communicate with the lads at all. If something needs to be communicated we ask that you share that information with us and we convey it to the lads in character. One of our goals is to increase the problem-solving skills of the children and if a Tall Sailor steps in, the opportunity to learn is lost. In addition, the Tall Sailor's role can be physically taxing as they are asked to stand for long periods of time and their sleeping situation is rather uncomfortable.
The teacher has one of the more pleasant roles on board. Teachers are considered guests of the Captain. This title allows you open access to the vessel and the pier. As a guest, we ask that you circulate through all the crews and enjoy watching your students grow to meet the challenges of being a sailor.
The lads are on board to learn about themselves, each other and the
Maritime industry in one of the most beautiful environments in the world:
The San Francisco Bay.
Time Line for the Day of the Program*
*This time line is approximate and is subject to change.